Sensitive, somewhat effeminate farm-boy Duncan Mudge can barely cope with grim, since Ma's death even gloomier father Edgar's manly expectations, and seeks comfort in petting a chicken he ... See full summary »
When her brother Bobby returns from World War II mentally damaged, Anna has to deal with her parents who don't acknowledge her brother's existence, who is now brought to a mental hospital. ... See full summary »
The Travis family façade is destroyed by an event incomprehensible to them -- an event which will open locked doors and finally reveal the secrets that have haunted them for decades. Written by
As of 2016, this is the last film appearance of Sara Tanaka who played Shelly Chan. See more »
Matt's swimming time at the start of the movie is 44.3 for a 100 meter long course swim. This time would better the world record of 47.84. If he had been swimming in a short course yard (instead of long course meters) pool this time would have been a great time, but not a world record. See more »
Matt Travis was a great swimmer. But it wasn't just that he was a great swimmer, it was simply that he was greater at swimming than anyone I ever knew was good at whatever they were good at.
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So life is nothing more than a tragedy? (spoilers)
I just finished watching this horribly depressing drama and realized that, in light of recent dramas such as these, the only ones who could be considered abnormal are those who are least aware that life is nothing more than tragic. I would suggest how nauseatingly defeatist and counter-productive this conclusion is, even if relationships and outlooks like those presented in this movie are grounded in fact to some degree. But, instead, I realized that these films have made the very determination of the great "tragedy" trivial when the same boring situations, the same suffocating dysfunctional families and friendships continue to play out just have they been over and over again in some sort of attempt to knock out previous distortions of family life (much of it existing in the 1950s and earlier with personality and character aberrations being made ever so subtle), supplanting it instead with the "reality" of how things actually are. That in fact, what we are watching is no longer the dysfunctional, but in fact, a normal existence and set of circumstances that has actually existed all along, but of which we may have been previously been unaware and thus, have ignored or at least denied.
Only problem is, that too many films have been trying to make this point. And by doing so in nearly identical form. When I had read the synopsis for the film, I immediately thought of 'Ice Storm.' While watching the depressing lifelessness of the Travis family, which seemed to endure repeated emotional berating, I immediately recalled 'American Beauty.' And, in some regards, the interactions between the parents and the middle child, Tim, I drew similarities from 'Igby Goes Down.' 'Imaginary Heroes' may be a novel experience, maybe a refreshing one deemed so for an honest portrayal of character that, as said before, is often not permitted to exist in the films of family (which is idiotic to think anyways, considering we were already seeing these kinds of relationships displayed in films like 'Ordinary People' as early as 1980 and which go back even further than that). But, to the well-versed viewer, these films may offer nothing new. They have in fact, become a rather tired testimony of too many filmmakers who may try to out-do the other with the amount of trauma and apathy they can pack into one family (and here, it extends to neighbors and friends). In fact, 'Imaginary Heroes,' the latest in this genre (I do think there have been enough films to accurately declare it a 'genre'), crams so many disasters and surprises into one family, that they would make prize finds for a daytime talk show host. It is the story of a family who is tested by the suicide of the eldest son, a talented and decorated swimmer who hated the sport with a passion. The youngest son knew this, the father was in a daze and blinded by the push for competitiveness in his all-star son. And it's not clear that the mother and sister had much of a relationship with the young man.
Granted, it is no less entertaining (to some extent, for those who find this material exhaustively depressing after a while), and the performances are quite good, especially by Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels. But, I sure hope that filmmakers in the future wishing to add to the commentary of struggling familial relationships (which coincidentally or not always seem to be upper-middle class white suburban families) intend to offer something new by way of material and insight. I should see no distinction (and consequently, no purpose) otherwise.
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